We are teaching our daughters to say no, but what are we teaching our sons?

A friend sent me an audio today at 7 A.M. An audio that stated that a wise mother once told her daughter that it takes one male goat to inseminate 6 females.

In the audio, the woman from Coastal Kenya was advising young women that men will always cheat and it is up to a woman to choose whether to break or hold her family together if the man decides to explore other options for a while. This is a friend with a wife and child, yet he found it appropriate to send me this audio.

That was it. I had to talk about this – despite the fact that I always focus purely on social change, gender based issues and socio- economic factors but today there is a mash up. We are teaching our girls to say no to emotional, physical and sexual abuse but what are we teaching our sons?

There are so many inappropriate and disrespectful things done to us as women, some that we do to ourselves that make the lives of Kenyan women a bit too tough to smile through. So, we protect those that tear us down to feel like we belong. We have to be loved.

A woman who is hurt shouldn’t have to rescue the man who is hurting her but our cultures have moulded us to fight for our husband’s and boyfriend’s battles even when the war is in our own homes. We basically fight and defend their mistakes. We protect them from the pain and bear it all.

I have had a woman call me when I was 21 and ask me to leave her man alone. A woman betrayed, both of us betrayed; yet she was fighting me. I understood at that moment as I listened through her insults that we have been brought up to care, stay and persevere. We have been brought up to defend men and protect those that hurt us.

We have been brought up to say no to sexual abuse and domestic violence but what are our men been taught to do? Let’s shift from the emotional abuse most women in Kenya and the rest of the world go through in the name of love and talk about the sexual abuse.

I read a story on a woman being asked to come to school beause her daughter beat up a boy who unstrapped her bra. She was in trouble. He was not. The parent was being called in not because her daughter was sexually harassed but simply because she beat someone after that.

Thinking of this incidences, I remembered and smiled through the fact that I have always made it a point to remind every male teacher I passed through that caned me on my buttocks after taking 5 minutes to iron the skirt with his stick to expose my ass; that he was simply sick and twisted . They do not take it well though. To them, I am a rude feminist with no gratitude as to how much they disciplined me.

A well read and glorified mainstream writer advised men to give their girlfriends or dates Shisha-( she was talking about those girls that smoke) and then drag them to their cars and have sex with them when they have passed put from having too much of it. I remember reading that article and sighing in dismay. Why would a woman advise a man to date rape another woman? Most people were not offended by that article. They laughed, made her famous for a few hours too. Women and men equally.

Why? Because we are sorrounded with the notion that, we cannot understand the society nor understand men. We have have forgotten an important aspect – “do you understand yourself as a woman most day?”

I read Julia Pascal’s article on Understanding men and felt like I was on the right path of being a strong woman. What I failed to understand was this mere fact:

Men do not mould and nurture strong women and neither do they break them, strong women have all the power in their hands to choose between the 2.

No one ever told me that being a strong woman does not make you more or less of a woman. No one warned me that sometimes as a strong woman; wishes and dreams are all we have. No one told me that the harder you work and the higher you go, the faster everything tumbles.

No one warned me that sometimes fairytales help you sleep at night. No one told me that tomorrow is no fool but a woman who thinks she doesn’t need any rescuing once in a while is.

Because all we are being taught is to to say no, protect ourselves and our men. Love our men behind flaws. What are we teaching our menm



8 thoughts on “We are teaching our daughters to say no, but what are we teaching our sons?

  1. THIS ARTICLE IS THE TRUTH! It is so one sided when some women are thought to act a certain way to protect themselves from a man. Parents need to do a better job outlining the consequences of wrong actions in both genders. It is almost as if we expect the guys to cheat, rape or misbehave. We are thought to defend ourselves without looking into the root of the problem: the attack. If we are able to address the reason why we defend ourselves, I believe we have solved most of the issue. This has inspired me to write about the difference in upbringing in genders in African households. Please visit my site for the latest post on Natural Hair: Part 2!


  2. “Men do not mould and nurture strong women and neither do they break them, strong women have all the power in their hands to choose between the 2”.
    If this is not the anthem we as women should all go by, I don’t know what is. Great read, it’s like reading my own thoughts on a screen. Thank you.


  3. I think we are human being first and gender second. It keeps us in a rut when we deal with the victim but not the perpetrator. As we teach the girl child we should also teach the boy child because guess what the men we are dealing with were once boys and they were taught what they now practice as men; knowingly or unknowingly. The boy child needs to be taught how to be a gentleman then maybe the girl child will not need to be so defensive all the time.


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